2007-09-05 / News

Waste Not, Want Not

A trashcan is one of those must-have, must-not-see items. Here's how you can finesse its function
By Kit Davey CTW Features

I have carefully scanned page after glossy page of my design magazines and have yet to find one of them. I must admit, I dislike viewing them, but I still wonder, where have they hidden them?

We're talking about the lowly wastebasket. I know I need mine, but something about the sight of them makes me cringe. (I have a problem with dishwashing liquid bottles, tissue boxes and paper-towel dispensers, too.)

What can the squeamish home decorator do with his/her trash receptacle?

Don't use one

Some rooms, like a guest room or living room, really don't need one. (How much refuse can you create in your dining room or bedroom, for that matter?) Because I dislike the sight of a bag-lined can so intensely, I have limited the use of cans to my bathroom, kitchen and office. Any refuse created in the rest of the house gets carried out and deposited into a container in trash-receiving rooms.

Hide it

If the room must have a can, conceal it. I have placed cans under my kitchen sink and my bathroom vanity on rollout shelves, which are available at most hardware stores. Try hiding your baskets behind furniture, under a desk, in a corner or in a closet.

Make it blend in

If you can't live without your basket, do your best to make it meld with the surrounding space. In an all white kitchen, use a clean white container with a pedal-controlled lid; in a sweet girl's room, add lace or ribbons to its brim; in a rustic or natural bedroom use a rattan or wicker basket.

Make it a focal point

If you don't have a complex about your wastebaskets and, in fact, want to draw attention to them, do so with gusto.

• Eschew the typical boring bin and try an offbeat container such as an antique bucket or watering can, a drum (with one side removed), a wooden box, a pickling crock, an umbrella stand, a large vase or an oatmeal cereal container.

• Use a contrasting color. In an all blue room, place a red can in the corner - your guests won't be able to take their eyes off it.

• Create a masterpiece. Paint or stencil it with polka dots, stars, dogs, stripes or flowers. Decoupage it with wallpaper, fabric, magazine photos, wine labels, newspaper clippings, stamps, foreign money, maps, old postcards, wrapping paper or tissue paper.

My brother, bless him, doesn't know my honest feelings about wastebaskets. For my birthday, he sent me a can he had lovingly covered with carefully selected family pictures, trimmed in blue brocade. It must be my karma.

Kit Davey, an interior designer based in Redwood City, Calif., helps clients redecorate their homes through the creative use of their existing furnishings. E-mail Kit your questions: kit@ctwfeatures.com.

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